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  1. Are Elderberries Safe to Eat, Or Are They Poisonous?

    Are Elderberries Safe to Eat, Or Are They Poisonous?

    People are on the hunt for native plants that produce healthy berries. Today’s homeowner wants to take advantage of plants that provide edible – and ornamental – benefits.

    Elderberry is also commonly known as “Sambucus” and you can find extracts and a dried version in pill form at any health food store. Historically, cooked Elderberry Syrup has been used as chest remedies to treat colds and flu.

    Even though it’s touted for both immune support and to reduce the severity of colds, you may have heard that Elderberries are poisonous.

    Here’s why. The leaves, stems and roots of the plants as well as the seeds in the berries have chemicals which metabolize into cyanide. Eating the raw seeds can cause a build-up of cyanide in the body and make you ill.

    Many edible plants

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  2. Plum, One of The Easiest Fruit Trees to Grow in Your Backyard

    Delicious, Easy Care Plum Trees Are Easy for Beginning Gardeners

    People have loved Plums for a long time. Cultivated Plum tree varieties trace back to the beginning of human history, and Plum remains have been discovered in archeological sites back to the Stone Age.

    The two primary varieties of plums that are most common in our diet today, Prunus domestica (European Plums) and the Prunus salicina (Japanese Plums) are not found in nature at all, but rather are a human creation. These varieties are the results of selective hybridization over the course of centuries.

    Plum Trees are Great for Beginners

    Because there are so many varieties available across a diverse set of climates and zones, growing Plum Trees are the ideal fruit for the beginning home gardener. Plum varieties like the American hybrids, Burbank, Superior and Toka have adapted to the

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  3. Winter Watering Tips for Trees, Shrubs and Perennials

    Use a shovel or pitchfork to test your soil to see if you should water your plants in winter for best results

    Low soil moisture, low precipitation and wild swings in temperatures can cause lots of problems for many landscape plants. Many established plants can be harmed, but newly planted plants are especially susceptible to winter damage. 

    Remember, keeping your trees and shrubs stress free is the key to success. Healthy and vigorous plants can ward off insect and disease problems much easier than plants that are weak and stressed.

    Protect Evergreen Trees and Shrubs from Winter Burn

    Was it dry in your region last fall? In areas where very dry fall weather precedes winter, there can be problems like winter burn and desiccation to evergreen trees and shrubs. Dry soils going into winter can also cause root damage, which can affect the entire

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  4. Make Your Yard Look Better in Winter

    Make your yard look better in winter by adding certain plants

    Let’s face it: even with the magic of snowfall, the garden can look pretty boring in winter. It doesn’t have to be! Try planting some of these unique plants for winter garden beauty and color. (Bonus: many of these plants offer fabulous visual appeal during the other 3 seasons too!)

    Benefits of a Winter Landscape

    Gardening with winter in mind is tough when you’re surrounded by spring flowers! But planting for winter color and texture is well worth the forethought. Benefits of a winter garden include:

    • Simply pretty. You’ll actually be inspired to look out your window during the winter.
    • Wildlife-friendly. Many of these winter plants double as valuable food and shelter for backyard wildlife.
    • Effortless. Unlike flashy summer flowers, a winter
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  5. Which Trees Grow the Fastest?

    Lovely River Birch graces a home with shade and beauty

    Today’s homeowners are looking for trees with speedy growth rates to provide privacy and shade as soon as possible. But the Nature Hills horticultural team thinks you should consider a few more qualities when making your decision….

    Need for Speed? Think Color, Too

    “So, which trees grow the fastest?”

    When you think of a fast growing tree, you will probably think of the usual cast of characters like cottonwood trees or willows that really grow fast in your area. However, you should know that there are other considerations to think about.

    Instead of focusing only on growth rate, let’s ask instead, “Which fast growing shade trees will give me addition

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  6. Caring for Cara Cara Navel Oranges

    How to grow great tasting Cara Cara oranges

    Late November and early December is the peak time for one of the finest oranges available. The Cara Cara orange possesses the most unique flavor of any orange. Imagine cherry, berry and orange flavors, all in one incredibly convenient fruit. That’s the flavor of a Cara Cara orange.

    The Cara Cara orange is also a nutritional powerhouse, with plenty of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folate, and lycopene. These antioxidants give your heart a boost, and protect your cells from free radicals.

    The Cara Cara is an easy tree to grow, so you can enjoy this healthy fruit from your own yard. Not only is it adapted to any landscape wherever citrus grows well, the Cara Cara can also grow up to 15 to 20 feet without pruning. For ideal picking and pest control, the Cara Cara Orange is best when kept pruned at 6 to 8 feet.

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  7. Are Roses Hard to Grow?

    Carefree roses are easy to grow and love

    Think only green thumbs can enjoy a rose garden? Think again! Unlike the old-fashioned fussy selections grown decades ago, modern roses are hardy, versatile plants that can thrive on neglect. In fact, roses are much easier to care for than you think, especially when you select the right variety for your garden’s unique climate and soil.

    From small city balconies to water-wise landscapes, the amazing, versatile rose can be at home in almost any garden.

    What Makes Modern Roses So Easy to Grow?

    If you’ve been hesitating to start a little rose garden of your own, consider this:

    1. Most modern roses have disease resistance built into the plants.  No need to lose sleep over black spot or mildew worries.
    2. Once esta
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  8. Care Tips for Small Ornamental Trees in Your Landscape

    Small ornamental tree by front door

    The first crop that sells out on the Nature Hills site is our super popular smaller ornamental trees. Some customers call them “Patio Trees.” No matter what you call them, we see the trend to use smaller trees in both front and backyard landscapes getting bigger.

    To keep up with the demand, we’ve really beefed up our numbers of smaller, more ornamental trees. After all, they fit so nicely into your landscape, and help you enjoy time spent outside on your patio.

    Short on Space? Choose a Small Tree

    With higher density housing in many areas, modern yards are not huge. Where space is limited, people want to choose plants with more ornamental attributes.

    We’ve talked before about plant trends for more color and more seasons of interest. Plant breeders have introduced selections of high

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  9. What’s the Difference Between #1, #2, #3, #5, #7 Container Sizes?

    Plants grown in nursery containers

    We get a lot of questions about what the different container sizes really mean for your landscape. On every product page, you’ll see a tabbed navigation under the photos. This navigation will give you a lot more detail about the plant you are considering.

    You’ll also see a Plant Sizes tab with a helpful comparison video. Now, read on for a behind the scenes look at the trade secrets of the nursery industry.

    Too long, didn’t read? Just know that in general, container size is relative to the age of the plant with a few notable exceptions such as miniaturized Bonsai trees, or the galloping growth of Willow Hybrid trees.

    The older the plant, the more developed the root system. That’s what make a BIG difference in your landscape. Buy the biggest plant you can for immediate impact in your

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  10. Reduce Risk with Firewise Landscaping Resources

    Create a defendable space around your house

    Devastating wildfires in California have made everyone more aware of the dangers of living in fire prone regions. While nothing can totally eliminate the threat of wildfires in these areas, there are things which can be done to lessen the impact.

    Research is ongoing on ways to protect your house using firewise landscaping techniques. You might also hear this as "firescaping" or even fire safe landscaping.

    This post is designed to give you a quick rundown of the overall principles, then share with you some of the best web resources we've found on

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